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  1. #1
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    Byron Eugene Scherf - Washington Death Row



    Suspect has violent history with women

    The inmate suspected of killing a Monroe corrections officer on Saturday has a long history of violence against women, and spent the last 14 years behind bars knowing he had zero chance of ever again living free.

    Byron Scherf, 52, had since 1997 been serving a sentence of life without possibility of release under the state's "three strikes" law. His criminal history began when he was barely 20, and includes rapes, kidnapping, and one attack where he lit a woman on fire.

    Scherf is being held in isolation at the Monroe Correctional Complex. Officials there say he is the prime suspect in the apparent strangulation killing of Jayme Biendl, 34.


    Jayme Biendl, a 34-year-old corrections officer, was found dead Saturday night in the chapel of the Washington state prison where she worked.

    Biendl's death is being investigated as a homicide, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said Sunday.

    Killing a corrections officer is an aggravating circumstance under Washington law governing first-degree murder. A person who is convicted can face the death penalty.

    Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said his office was working closely with detectives investigating Biendl's killing.

    "I know the investigators working this case and have complete confidence in them," he said. "At this point my main thoughts are about the victim, her family, the people who loved her and worked with her, and law enforcement officers everywhere who do a dangerous job and put their lives on the line every time they go to work.

    "I know the investigation will be thorough, and our prosecution will be professional. But the human tragedy is what's most on my mind right now," Roe added.

    Prison officials said Scherf declined to speak with them and requested a lawyer.

    Scherf was a volunteer in the chapel. He told his wife that he enjoyed the work, which included helping organize files.

    On Saturday, he'd received a visit from his wife.

    She told investigators there was no indication he was planning to escape or wanted to hurt a corrections officer, Monroe Correctional Complex superintendent Scott Frakes said.

    "The only thing he said is he had a headache," Frakes said. "Other than that, there was nothing different about his behavior."

    Scherf received a life sentence for a 1995 rape and kidnapping of a woman in Spokane County. In 1997, the Spokesman-Review newspaper reported that he attacked a real estate agent after arranging for the woman to show him a house she was selling. Once inside, he grabbed a butcher knife, forced her into the trunk of his car, drove to a wooded area and raped her.

    The woman later told police that Scherf said he'd planned to take her life, but changed his mind. He was arrested a few days later, high on drugs and driving erratically.

    In his car was a notebook in which Scherf admitted to the rape, and said the woman "looked like a Playboy girl," the newspaper reported.

    At the time of the Spokane County attack, Scherf was on parole and already had two "strikes" toward an automatic life sentence. His first "strike" was for a 1978 assault. His second "strike" was for a 1981 rape in Pierce County.

    In the 1981 case, Scherf kidnapped a waitress, took her to an abandoned house, tied her up and sexually assaulted her. Before leaving, he poured gasoline on the woman and set her afire. She managed to wriggle out of a second-story window and survived, the newspaper reported.

    Scherf received a life sentence for that attack, but under the laws then in effect, he won parole 12 years later.

    Washington voters in 1993 adopted the nation's first "three strikes" law. It requires life sentences without release for three separate convictions of certain "most serious" offenses, almost all of them violent crimes. Two years later, Scherf was among the first 100 people to "strike out" under the law.

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...WS01/701309860

  2. #2
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    Several investigations into Monroe guard death

    Several investigations are under way in the strangling death of Monroe Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl.

    Monroe police must wrap up their investigation of suspected inmate Byron Scherf before the Monroe Correctional Complex can conduct its own investigation, The Daily Herald of Everett reported Wednesday.

    Police served more search warrants in the past few days and are wrapping up interviews and collecting evidence, Monroe police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

    "They're slowing down, but it's continuing," she said Tuesday.

    The newest search warrants were for records and paperwork documenting Scherf's life, she said. That includes records for housing, education and his brief stint in the military. Investigators also are looking through his medical records, including his history of medications and psychological evaluations.

    As of Tuesday night, Scherf had declined to speak with investigators, Willis said.

    Scherf, 52, is a convicted rapist serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

    The state Department of Labor and Industries also is investigating. It will determine whether state workplace safety laws were violated, agency spokesman Hector Castro said. That agency is required by law to finish its investigation in six months. If those officials find something wrong, they can issue citations and fines.

    And, Gov. Chris Gregoire wants an independent review by the federal National Institute of Corrections.

    Biendl, 34, was found Jan. 29 in the prison chapel at the Washington State Reformatory.

    Monroe police will forward their completed investigation to Snohomish County prosecutors, who will decide on charges. Killing a corrections officer can lead to the death penalty in Washington.

    Monroe Correctional Complex Superintendent Scott Frakes said he must wait until police are finished before investigating what happened the night Biendl was killed. Among other things, he wants to know why it took more than an hour to find Biendl after Scherf was apprehended in the chapel lobby.

    Read more: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/02/0...#ixzz1DTQgmrjO

  3. #3
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    Similar stories:


    • Several investigations into Monroe guard death
      Several investigations into Monroe guard death


      Several investigations are under way in the strangling death of Monroe Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl.
    • Inmate suspect in WA guard's death had bite marks
      Inmate suspect in WA guard's death had bite marks


      An inmate suspected of strangling a female guard in a prison chapel had bite marks on his fingers and what appear to be scratch marks on his buttocks, according to court papers filed Tuesday.
    • As friends mourn, police seek clues
      As friends mourn, police seek clues


      MONROE - Detectives with the Monroe Police Department spent Monday interviewing staff members at the Monroe Correctional Complex and processing evidence seized from the cell of a man suspected of strangling corrections officer Jayme Biendl inside the prison chapel. • Suspect has long history in Pierce County
    • Monroe prison guard found strangled
      Monroe prison guard found strangled


      MONROE - A corrections officer who had raised concerns about being the sole guard in the chapel of a Washington state prison was strangled there over the weekend, and an inmate serving a life sentence is the primary suspect, authorities said Sunday.
    • Suspect has long history in Pierce County


    Read more: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/02/0...#ixzz1DTQuqYA3

  4. #4
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    Document: Wash. inmate acknowledged killing guard

    A Washington state reformatory inmate confessed to killing Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl in the prison chapel, saying he was angry with the way she spoke to him minutes earlier, according to a search warrant affidavit made public Friday.

    The affidavit said inmate Byron Scherf acknowledged the crime to detectives Wednesday in a videotaped interview.

    The interview came after Scherf asked detectives for a chance to tell them what happened, the affidavit said. He acknowledged his right to remain silent, then confessed.

    "I'll just get right to the point. I'm responsible for the death of the correctional officer at the Monroe, uh, correctional facility," he said, according to excerpts cited in the affidavit. "I strangled her to death on Jan. 29 at approximately 8:40 p.m. in the chapel."

    Scherf, 52, reportedly told detectives he was angry at Biendl over how she had spoken with him sometime between 8:15 and 8:25 while he worked in the prison chapel that evening. The content of the remarks Scherf claimed she made was not detailed in the affidavit.

    "I became very angry ... and the more that ran through my mind the madder I got," Scherf was quoted as saying. "I got to the point where I knew I was going to kill her."

    Scherf's public defender did not immediately return a call or e-mail seeking comment Friday.

    According to the affidavit, Biendl sent the inmates back to their cells at about 8:30 and began closing the chapel. Scherf said he decided to hang back and attacked Biendl from behind, it said. He said he fought with her for three or four minutes, with Biendl trying unsuccessfully to radio for help, according to the document.

    Scherf said Biendl bit and scratched him and stomped on his foot trying to get free. They wound up on the ground and he used a cable from an amplifier to fatally choke her, he reportedly told detectives.

    He was described as becoming emotional as he said, "I'm certainly sorry."

    The affidavit was written in support of a search warrant to look for blood, skin, sweat or other trace evidence that could corroborate Scherf's account.

    The warrant is one of several made public in the last few days. One released Thursday said Scherf had asked others who attended the chapel to pray for him two days before the killing because he was struggling with temptation.

    Scherf is a three-strikes offender serving a life sentence for rape convictions. He volunteered at the chapel where he worked as a janitor and clerk. He's jailed in Everett for the homicide investigation.

    The search warrants make clear that detectives are preparing for a possible death penalty case.

    Scherf has been serving life in prison without possibility of release since 1997 after he was convicted of three attacks on women.

    The search warrants show investigators have been spending considerable time with Scherf since the killing. For example, they obtained a judge's permission to carefully photograph Scherf's nude body under special lights that make it easier to spot injuries, including hidden bruises.

    http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011...-guard-killed/

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    Inmate Who Killed Guard in Monroe Could Come to Walla Walla

    Two attacks in less than a month at the Monroe Correctional Complex in western Washington are raising questions all across the state. DO Washington corrections officers have the resources they need to maintain order behind prison walls? And is the state doing enough to protect them?

    Multimedia





    KEPR Action News spoke with a former employee of Monroe, who says more definitely needs to be done. Julie Aff worked as a therapist at the Monroe Correctional Complex. She served there for years, treating sex offenders, before retiring and moving to the Tri-Cities.

    When she heard about the death of correctional officer Jayme Biendl, she only thought one thing: "This didn't have to happen."

    Convicted rapist Byron Scherf admits to strangling Biendl in the prison chapel because she "scolded" him. But the fact that she was even in there alone with such a violent sex offender leaves Aff shaking her head. She says several colleagues who still work in Monroe confirm Biendl's request for added security wasn't taken seriously. And she says again, it came down to money.

    "It's legislators and the governor continuing to choose to fund all the fluff, and continuing to cut safety."

    Scherf still hasn't been charged in Biendl's murder. But how do you punish a man already sentenced to life in prison? If prosecutors pursue the death penalty, he could be transferred to Walla Walla.

    But in the meantime, Aff hopes the young woman's death sparks change. "What can we learn from this? How can we take her death and make something good?"

    http://www.keprtv.com/news/local/116458128.html

  6. #6
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    The inmate accused of killing Monroe corrections officer Jayme Biendl has been booked for investigation of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree murder in connection with the slaying, the Daily Herald of Everett reported.

    Byron Scherf, 52, is expected to make a court appearance Thursday in Everett, where a judge will determine if there is probable cause to hold him on the murder allegations.

    Killing a corrections officer is an aggravating circumstance under Washington law. A conviction could carry the death penalty.

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/26969926/detail.html

  7. #7
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    Suspect in Monroe prison officer’s death due in court

    The prime suspect in the death of Monroe corrections officer Jayme Biendl is expected to make his first court appearance in the case this afternoon.

    Byron Scherf, 52, was booked Wednesday morning for investigation of aggravated first-degree murder and first-degree murder. He's being held at the Snohomish County Jail. He was moved there from the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe three days after Biendl's body was discovered in the reformatory's chapel.

    This is the first step toward charging Scherf with aggravated murder. Killing a corrections officer is an aggravating circumstance under Washington law. A conviction could carry the death penalty.

    Scherf is expected to appear in Everett District Court via video from jail. A judge will determine if there is probable cause to hold him on the murder allegations. The judge also likely will set a deadline for prosecutors to file charges in Superior Court.

    Regardless of what happens in court, Scherf isn't going anywhere -- he is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

    Monroe police detectives filed the paperwork Wednesday to hold Scherf at the jail for investigation of aggravated murder, spokeswoman Debbie Willis said. Some of Scherf's voluminous case file already has been forwarded to the prosecutor's office, she said.

    "The booking and the hearing are the initiation of the prosecution," Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said Wednesday.

    Scherf is accused of attacking Biendl from behind at her post in the chapel Jan. 29. He reportedly told investigators that he became angry with the officer during a conversation earlier in the night. During a taped interview, Scherf told detectives that Biendl fought him, stomping on his foot, biting him and freeing herself from his choke holds, court documents said. Scherf allegedly admitted that he used an amplifier cord left on the stage to strangle Biendl.

    "I'll just get right to the point. I'm responsible for the death of the correctional officer at the Monroe, uh, correctional facility," Scherf is quoted as saying during the interview.

    Under the law, Roe will have to notify Scherf's attorneys if he intends to seek the death penalty. Scherf's lawyers then would have an opportunity to present information to Roe that might make him consider leniency. That information could include any mental health history or other mitigating circumstances.

    Scherf's past is extensively documented through his numerous contacts with the courts over the past three decades.

    He was sentenced in 1997 to life without the possibility of parole for the 1995 rape and kidnapping of a Spokane real estate agent. That conviction was his third "strike'' under the state's persistent offender laws.

    At the time of the Spokane County attack, Scherf was on parole and already had two strikes toward an automatic life sentence. His first strike was for a 1978 assault. His second was for a 1981 rape in Pierce County. In that case, Scherf kidnapped a waitress, raped her, and then set her afire. She survived the attack. Scherf received a life sentence, but under the laws then in effect, he won parole after a dozen years.

    After the 1997 conviction, he was housed in close custody at Clallam Bay Correctional Center. He was transferred to reformatory in Monroe, initially still in close custody. But in 2002, five years after being sent to prison for life, he was moved to medium-security custody, based on his good behavior.

    Biendl, 34, began working at the reformatory in 2002. The Granite Falls native became a corrections officer a year later and earned the solo post at the chapel in 2005. Prison officials and her coworkers described Biendl as a consummate professional who was fair and firm. More than 4,200 people attended her memorial service Feb. 8 in downtown Everett.

    Biendl's death has sparked questions about safety in the state's prisons. Gov. Chris Gregoire has called for an independent review of the incident.

    Since capital punishment was reinstated in the state in 1981, two Snohomish County cases have led to execution.

    Triple murderer Charles Rodman Campbell was put to death in 1994 after a protracted legal battle. James Homer Elledge was executed in 2001, three years after pleading guilty to murdering a woman in Lynnwood. Elledge requested the death penalty and directed his attorney not to fight to keep him alive.

    Roe was one of the prosecutors who handled Elledge's case, convincing a jury to sentence him to death.

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...9886/-1/COMM03

  8. #8
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    Scherf allegedly said he deserves to die for killing officer

    A convicted rapist already serving a life sentence allegedly told detectives that he deserves to die for killing Monroe corrections officer Jayme Biendl.

    During an interview with detectives earlier this month, Byron Scherf reportedly admitted that he strangled Biendl inside the chapel at the Washington State Reformatory. Detectives asked Scherf what he thought was the appropriate punishment for the slaying.

    "I took her life and I think I should forfeit mine," Scherf is quoted as saying in a probable cause affidavit released Thursday.

    Scherf allegedly went on to say: "I think the prosecutors should charge aggravated first-degree murder and go for the death penalty."

    "If I get a life sentence and she's (dead) then there's no punishment attached to it because I already have a life sentence," Scherf reportedly added.

    The affidavit was prepared for use at Scherf's scheduled appearance Thursday afternoon in Everett District Court.

    Detectives booked Scherf, 52, at the jail Wednesday for investigation of first-degree aggravated murder and first-degree murder. He was moved to the jail from the reformatory not long after Biendl's death.

    Killing a corrections officer is an aggravating circumstance under Washington law governing first-degree murder. A conviction can lead to the death penalty.

    Scherf is accused of attacking Biendl from behind at her post in the chapel on Jan. 29. He told investigators that he became angry with the officer during a conversation earlier in the night. He explained that he didn't always like the way Biendl treated people at times, and said that he felt that sometimes she was disrespectful to others at the chapel, Monroe police detective Barry Hatch wrote in the affidavit.

    During a taped interview, Scherf told detectives that he waited for the other inmates to leave and then walked to the front door of the chapel and closed the gate to make sure no one else would come in or suspect anything amiss because of an open door, Hatch wrote.

    Scherf allegedly explained that he came up behind Biendl and grabbed her. He ripped her microphone radio from her uniform so she couldn't call for help.

    Biendl fought with him, stomping on his foot, biting him and freeing herself from his chokeholds, court documents said. Scherf admitted that he used an amplifier cord left on the stage to strangle Biendl.

    Corrections officers discovered Biendl's body on the stage in chapel. A cord was wrapped around her neck several times.

    Biendl had worked the solo post at the chapel since 2005. She was known for being a good corrections officers and was honored as the officer of the year in 2008. More than 4,200 people attended her memorial service earlier this month.

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201...WS01/702249875

  9. #9
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    Scherf lawyers file civil lawsuit

    Defense attorneys for the man accused of killing a Monroe corrections officer are making it clear early on that they aren't going to make it easy for Snohomish County prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

    On Wednesday, the day before Byron Scherf was charged with aggravated murder, his attorneys quietly sought a judge's intervention in the case. They claim Scherf's civil rights are being violated.

    The civil lawsuit seeks an injunction against Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe. The injunction asks a judge to bar Roe from swiftly filing a notice to seek the death penalty.

    Prosecutors on Tuesday advised lead defense attorney Karen Halverson that Roe wants mitigation information on Scherf by March 7. Roe must consider those materials, which may contain grounds for leniency, before deciding whether to seek a death sentence.

    Scherf is accused of strangling corrections officer Jayme Biendl on Jan. 29 at her post in the chapel at the Washington State Reformatory.

    Scherf who is already serving a life sentence allegedly has told detectives that he deserves to die for the killing.

    Halverson is on the state's list of attorneys qualified to represent defendants facing the death penalty. Also assigned to the case are Neal Friedman and Jon Scott, attorneys with the Snohomish County Public Defenders Association.

    To effectively defend Scherf it is critical that they be able to present materials in an effort to persuade Roe to consider leniency, according to the suit. A March 7 deadline is unreasonable, and doesn't afford the defense team enough time to adequately investigate and prepare, Scott wrote in court papers.

    "In this way, the prosecutor has effectively denied (Scherf) his right to effective assistance of counsel and jeopardized his constitutional right to a fair trial," Scott wrote.

    The defense is requesting a judge give them more time to prepare those materials.

    Typically these matters are taken up during the criminal case but until Thursday there was no criminal court file. The lawyers argued they had no other choice but to file the civil lawsuit seeking intervention on behalf of their client. It's unclear if the civil case will be pursued now that a criminal charge has been filed.

    Friedman declined to comment and Halverson couldn't be reached on Friday.

    Roe on Friday afternoon said he hadn't seen the lawsuit, nor had he been told about it by the attorneys now representing Scherf.

    As for the injunction that would seek to block him from announcing a decision on death for Scherf, "This is the first I've heard about it," Roe said. "That would be a novel approach.

    "I have known Neal and Karen for over 20 years," he added. "They are smart and good attorneys, but I believe this is my decision to make. I will be happy to talk with them at any time if they feel differently.''

    Also named in the lawsuit are Monroe Police Chief Tim Quenzer and state Secretary of Corrections Eldon Vail.

    The defense attorneys also allege that their forensic investigator has been denied access to the chapel where Biendl was killed. Scherf's lawyers were scheduled to visit the crime scene earlier this week; however, they were notified that their forensic expert was not welcome. The tour was canceled.

    The defense argues that it's critical that the crime scene be preserved and not reopened to inmates until it can be reviewed by forensic expert Kay Sweeney.

    Sweeney is a former police officer. He's also the former program manager for the Washington State Patrol crime scene response team and managed the crime lab.

    The chapel has been off-limits to inmates since Biendl's body was discovered. Monroe police detectives have yet to release the scene to prison officials.

    Scherf's attorneys asked for a temporary injunction, baring police and prison officials from reopening the chapel until Sweeney is allowed access.

    http://www.heraldnet.com/article/201.../1055/COMM0614

  10. #10
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    Federal investigation into corrections officer murder begins

    A federal investigation is set to begin Monday into the murder of a Monroe Prison corrections officer.

    The investigation comes at the request Governor Chris Gregoire, after an inmate allegedly strangled to death corrections officer Jayme Biendl as she worked in the chapel at the prison January 29th.

    "We have representatives from the National Institute of Corrections to look at our procedures and figure out if there's a way to make improvements," says Washington State Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis.

    The federal team is part of the Department of Justice. The NIC is expected to make recommendations by mid March.

    Lewis says the State Department of Corrections is also conducting its own investigation, as is the state department of labor.

    The accused killer, Byron Scherf, has been moved to a prison in Everett.

    He is charged with aggravated murder. The prosecutor has not decided yet whether he'll seek the death penalty.

    Scherf was already serving a life sentence for violent assaults against women.

    http://www.mynorthwest.com/category/...murder-begins/

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